Category Archives: 2. Family Farm Report–Enforcement and Regulatory Actions

The Santa Clause and the Food & Farm Control Bill Snagged: Fishing to Control Small Family Farms and Real Food Producers?

The Santa Clause and the Gift of the Magi-cians.

The so-called Food Safety Control S510 bill with the so-called savior Tester-Hagan amendments may now be passed back to the overwhelming approving Senate. This is a perfect example of hard-ball politics of division, where half the food freedom folks are for it and half against it. Typically, federal control bills are written to appease large  stakeholders, then revised to include most stakeholders, changed several times in the process, including having several bills of different names.

In this battle, the war on food controls by the corporate/government  partnership, the magic trick is to appear to save the small farms producing local foods, yet provide the legal and regulatory framework, with funding, to take it all way. So once again it appears to be an angel of light, a white knight on a horse coming to save the small farm, and getting the foodies to work on the language for them so that end the end, the language can be twisted and used against them.

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FDA Mice are After the Cheese: Raw Dairy Fund Drive

From the NY Times slide show

The FDA is going after the raw cheese– in accordance with the U.S. government health agenda to eliminate raw milk sales in the US by 2020. This time it is Estrella Family Creamery and thousands of pounds of award-winning cheeses embargoed.

The Journal first published the Estrella story called Another FDA Cheese Bust on Family Food Ministry: Award-winning Artisan Raw Cheese Producer in Washington State two weeks ago.  Since then a group of bloggers got together and sponsored a fundraiser to keep the family going and the cows and goats fed (more on this below) A nice article and slide show appeared in the New York Times, Business Day section two days ago.

The article had an interesting quote about the zero-tolerance mentality when it comes to the detection of a pathogen in a food product:

“If the FDA wanted to shut down the U.S. artisan cheese industry, all they’d have to do is do this environmental surveillance and the odds of finding a pathogen would be pretty great,” said Catherine W. Donnelly, co-director of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese of the University of Vermont, referring to the listeria testing at cheese plants. “Is our role to shut these places down or help them?”

Regulatory agencies should become better educated in these skilled crafts and then use their infinite resources to assist those who may have a safety problem to get back into production as quick as possible–since these operations are so important for the local culture and economy. If farmers and consumers want traditional and artisan food produced and continue their rapid growth, they also need to come to the aid of those who get unjustly treated, in the Estrella case by the FDA who stepped in around the state agencies.  This is your chance to put $5, $10 or $20 or more down on this horse and watch this race play out!

Please make your donation at the Pledgie site. From there you can go to the Estrella wordpress blog set up to keep up on the latest.
Click here to lend your support to: Help the Estrella Family Creamery and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

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Two Declarations for Farm and Food Freedom

Two international figures came out last week to make serious statements about farm and food freedom. Sir Julian Rose and the ICPPC Manifesto and Michael Schmidt with his  Edmonton Declaration. Michael sent me his and Julian sent his to Kimberly Hartke. I thought it appropriate to tie these two together–Augie

The International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) held their Anniversary conference this past weekend. The Manifesto for 21st Century Food and Farming “Farming for the People with the People”was circulated there and was submitted to Hartke is Online! by their co-director, Sir Julian Rose.

Sir Rose, a strong advocate/activists for real farming and raw milk, gives the Manifesto which states:

Continuing to adhere to the present corporate and state controlled food and farming regimes means that:

  • Farmer’s time honoured right to save their seeds and to cultivate, distribute and trade the produce resulting from these seeds will continue to be subverted, curtailed and stolen.
  • People’s right to perpetuate the biodiversity of locally adapted native plants, herbs and animals for culinary, medicinal and general environmental health will be denied.
  • People’s rights to gain lawful access to unused or barren land for the purpose of growing food for their own consumption in ways that do not harm the environment will be blocked.
  • People’s time honoured right to carry on the daily operations of good farming practice unhindered by state and corporate power structures, will be denied.

We call for a people led and people owned  renaissance of agriculture. One which will liberate the creativity and ingenuity of man and draw inspiration from the time honoured peasant and family farming practices that still form the foundation of self sufficient, sustainable and ecological agricultural production throughout the world.

Read the brief  Manifesto submitted at Hartke is Online!

The Edmonton Declaration by Michael Schmidt

The following document was presented at Michael Schmidt’s news conference on the steps of the Alberta Legislature recently:

Photo– Courtesy of The Bovine
 

“Agriculture has been the backbone of Canada. History has taught us that a healthy Agri-culture is able to feed all the people and therefore creates a healthy and socially stable environment.

At the turn of the last century 70% of our Canadian population was actively involved in farming.

Today we have only 2% of the population left working on farms.

80% of them have to have another job to keep their farm going.

The average age of today’s farmers is 56 and hardly any young farmer can afford to start farming.

Corporate farming has taken over food production and multi national corporations control most of the farming inputs, food processing and distribution.

Food safety regulations and production standards are passed based on intensive lobby powers by those who control the current food chain.

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UPDATE: David vs Goliath: Sustainable Farmer/Soil Scientist Against Big Ag Money in Iowa Race for Secretary of Agriculture

“Iowa is the Corn State, and its about time that farmers quit growing Corn and start raising Cain.”–Augie

Francis, Susan and Rodney– Sustainable Dairy Farmers, Raw Milk Lovers and with your help can be Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture

Your chance to give David a few more stones to hurl at the Goliath he is up against in this neck-to-neck battle– this is the one to watch!

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UPDATE on Another FDA Cheese Bust on Family Food Ministry: Award-winning Artisan Raw Cheese Producer

UPDATE 10/25/2010

As reported here (below) Saturday, FDA busted another artisan-cheese family food ministry in Washington. The children have calmed down now four days after their direct dealings with the FDA agents when they locked up all the award-winning cheese at Estrella Family Creamery–while the Anthony and Kelly Estrella, the parents, were known by the intruders to be away at the farmers market. All because a few isolated samples of cheese never offered to the public did not pass non-detect (zero) of a microorganism that is found all over your skin. A “standard” that will shut down any cheesemaker nationwide. Continue reading

UPDATE on Another FDA Cheese Bust on Family Food Ministry: Award-winning Artisan Raw Cheese Producer in Washington State

UPDATE 10/25/2010

As reported here (below) Saturday, FDA busted another artisan-cheese family food ministry in Washington state. The children have calmed down now four days after their direct dealings with the FDA agents when they locked up all the award-winning cheese at Estrella Family Creamery–while Anthony and Kelly Estrella, the parents, were known by the intruders to be away at the farmers market. All because a few isolated samples of cheese never offered to the public did not pass non-detect (zero) of a microorganism that is found all over your skin: a “standard” that will shut down any cheese maker nationwide.

According to the Estrella’s, there had been a pathogen detected last Spring and rectified as is industry-standard worldwide. But this time FDA just suspects “all of the batches cheese” might contain a sub-type of Listeria, something allowed in European cheeses. (Low levels of Listeria may be found any cheese, according to this report. So the crux of the whole deal in Washington and some other states is a zero-dectection limit with a zero-tolerance which is an impossibility to achieve—even in the cleanest of cheese operations, not whether it is detected.) Continue reading

UPDATE: Family Farm Ordered to Destroy $250,000 Worth of Cheese Yet No Illness in 30 Years

Before we get to the update, a poem inspired by this incident was written by Alan Watt of Cutting through the Matrix . He mentioned my post here and drew oodles of new readers.

A Healthy Diet Can Cause a Riot:
An Ode to Morningland Dairy, Missouri
and Rawesome Foods, California:

“Whodathunk You’d Ever See SWAT Teams Raiding Farms,
Guns Drawn, Attacking at Dawn Before the Cock Alarms,
They’re Combat-Ready Hit-Men, Members of That Ilk,
They Cause Harm to Any Farm with Organic Milk,
Animals Know They’re Coming, Nervously They Mutter,
Nursing Sows and Milking Cows Cross Legs to Save the Udder,
They are America’s Finest, Protecting Citizens from Food
That Makers Sell to Keep Them Well, Nutritiously so Good,
Pour Blessings on the FDA, Praise Them on Your Knees,
Crawling Through Mire into the Byre, Peppering the Cheese
With Automatic Weapons, They Earn the Reputation
Tough and Fearless, Leaving you Tearless, Waving Legislation,
God Save America from Each Black-Cladded Goon,
Pull Their Socket, Pop ’em on a Rocket Heading for the Moon”
© Alan Watt Oct. 13, 2010
* Poem & Dialogue Copyrighted Alan Watt – Oct. 13, 2010 (Exempting Music, Literary Quotes, and Callers’ Comments)

Ace-in-the-Hole

FDAs regulatory enforcement and product seizure powers under the inevitable federal food safety laws  will make the Morningland Dairy cheese case look like a nibble, according to attorney Pete Kennedy in tonight’s update:

The views of FDA and many state health and agriculture departments on L-mono can be summarized in a statement made by a Missouri Milk Board inspector to Joe Dixon, “You are lucky if you find listeria,” implying the belief that it is either present in all food or present in the environment of all food processing plants. FDA’s position is that if a food sample tests positive for L-mono or any other pathogen, any other food produced on the same equipment is adulterated. This position was also taken by the Missouri Milk Board in its handling of the Morningland case. A Milk Board inspector told Joe that the embargoed cheese would still be suspect even if samples of it did test negative. When Joe asked the inspector, “Why do we even test?” There was no response.

S510 – Dangers of Mandatory Recall Power

In pushing its anti-raw milk agenda…. “Listeria monocytogenes,” in Joe Dixon’s words, “can be FDA’s ace in the hole.”

The cheese cases are an indicator of what could happen if S510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, passes into law giving FDA mandatory recall power. The cases show how the recall power along with the food safety plan requirement [see HARPC] in the bill would be an effective way for the agency to cripple raw dairy producers who have harmed no one with their products. If S510 passes, state agencies and laboratories will be getting more funding from FDA and the influence of the agency on states in pushing its anti-raw milk agenda will increase. In working toward this end, “Listeria monocytogenes,” in Joe Dixon’s words, “can be FDA’s ace in the hole.” READ more on this.

Join the Un-cheese Party and adopt a pound of cheese for five bucks to help this family fight the authorities in this miscarriage of justice to protect our health. Now here is the current situation in Missouri in the story by Doreen Hannes.– Augie

Family Farm Ordered to Destroy $250,000 Worth of Cheese

©Doreen Hannes 2010

Morningland Dairy is the latest attempt by the FDA to fulfill the Healthy People 2020 objective to kill raw dairy. Morningland is owned by Joseph and Denise Dixon, who operate the cheese plant and make raw cheese from cows kept right on the property and managed by one of their eldest daughters. They have 12 children, 4 who still live at home, and they have been actively engaged in real food for decades.  They were caught up in the Rawesome Raid dragnet and many believe the questionable California Dept of Food and Agriculture tests on their cheese are the legal justification for the multi-agency guns drawn raid at Rawesome.

Farm’s Perfect Safety Record Matters Not to Authorities

Morningland CalfMorningland Calf and Farmer’s Daughter

In the thirty years of Morningland Dairy operations NO ONE has become ill from consuming their products. Yet they have been ordered by the Missouri Milk Board to destroy ALL of their cheese without actual tests being performed on the cheese stock. This is nearly 50,000 pounds of cheese, or approximately $250,000.

READ THE FULL STORY AT HARTKEISONLINE !

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I am asking my readers and subscribers to use my new form to tell me something about yourself. This short from will also give you an opportunity to subscribe if you have not already done so.– Augie

NOW is the time to push the MO ARM as $250,000 worth of cheese is ordered destroyed PLUS the trial of the Bechard family farm is still pending. INVITE YOUR FRIENDS, post and comment!–Augie

JOIN UP with the ARMi Now!

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UPDATE on Organic Valley Dairy Coop Ban on Raw Milk: What Can Be Done?

UPDATE:  Sally Fallon, Founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation sent out a letter today about the Organic Valley decision to ban all dairies under contract from offering raw milk to consumers. They recently decided to allow their dairy members to sell only to family, friends and neighbors (I have a different definition–such that these terms mean everyone!) AND limiting this to only 1% of the volume sold to OV (as if they were a federal rule-making agency). Sally says the OV milk products are ultra-pastuerized, making their products sterile, killing the health-giving life in the organic raw milk. (Labeling it organic whole milk is deceptive– it is neither organic, whole or natural) She suggests consumers purchase from another company.

Read the original story I wrote in May called Reasons for Organic Valley Raw Milk Decision: Part of the Government/Corporate Partnership?– along with all the comments, with Sally’s full letter at the end of the comments. –-Augie

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Assault on Raw Foods in U.S.

An excep­tional arti­cle on the assault on raw foods in the U.S. appeared in a Cal­i­for­nia Inde­pen­dent paper (this is a repost since I am moving some articles from the old blog). I see now that raw foods are also being adul­ter­ated nutri­tion­ally in a major way: pas­teur­iza­tion of honey, fumigated/pasteurization of almonds and even veg­eta­bles to some extent. Other food items may go the way of real apple cider. This piece is not just about Cal­i­for­nia or about raw milk. It is really about all foods and the free­dom to choose healthy foods for our fam­i­lies. I have some sim­ple strate­gies to share about the new rules being imple­mented and enforced now and the new ones in the pipeline that I will post as we get comments.

RAW FOOD RAID CHALLENGES CONSUMER FREEDOM
by Chris Hinyub
Sat, Aug 07th 2010

A guns-drawn raid on a Venice food pantry late last month was the lat­est salvo by gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tors in their war on health free­dom and con­sumer sov­er­eignty. No less than four state agen­cies and two fed­eral ones par­tic­i­pated in the early morn­ing raid of Rawe­some Foods, a farm-to-consumer dis­tri­b­u­tion center.

The only dis­cernible crime of the pri­vate, members-only buy­ing club was their fail­ure to oper­ate a food facil­ity with­out a license. Rawe­some imme­di­ately restocked and resumed nor­mal oper­a­tions after the state-sanctioned intru­sion, con­tend­ing that it never oper­ated in a retail capac­ity and does not fall under the com­mer­cial juris­dic­tion of the reg­u­la­tory agen­cies. The LA Times debriefed its read­ers on the baf­fling Op:

Agen­cies that par­tic­i­pated in the raid on Rawe­some included the Los Ange­les County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health, the Los Ange­les County dis­trict attorney’s office, the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Food and Agri­cul­ture, the FDA and the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture. Inves­ti­ga­tors con­fis­cated the club’s com­puter and 17 cool­ers packed with, among other things, 24 bot­tles of organic honey, 10 gal­lons of raw whole milk and two bot­tles of raw cane syrup.

In all, police absconded with close to $10,000 worth of food belong­ing to club mem­bers. But who or what, exactly, are these offi­cials pro­tect­ing and serv­ing by harass­ing raw food dis­trib­u­tors? Farm-to-consumer and health free­dom advo­cates argue it’s most def­i­nitely not the public.

“This is about con­trol and profit, not our health,” said Aajonus Von­der­planitz, co-founder of Rawe­some Foods. “How can we not have the free­dom to choose what we eat?”

George Hem­minger, founder of Sur­vive and Thrive TV stated to Rus­sia Today that the strong arm police tac­tics so fre­quently used against raw food buy­ing clubs is not about pub­lic safety. He says raids like the one on Rawe­some Foods are con­ducted to pro­tect the prof­its of large food and drug cor­po­ra­tions. Accord­ing to Hem­minger, these are the same com­pa­nies who own the reg­u­la­tory agen­cies which enact poli­cies designed to sti­fle entre­pre­neur­ial com­pe­ti­tion and local food economies.

Though the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion says its con­cerned for pub­lic health, raw food advo­cates don’t believe con­sumer health and well­ness is the top pri­or­ity of the agency. The FDA does have a ques­tion­able track record. It con­tin­ues to approve drugs whose adverse reac­tions are among the lead­ing causes of pre­ventable death in this country.

Along with the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, they habit­u­ally refuse to enforce their own safety stan­dards on large food proces­sors. This is a divi­sion of the gov­ern­ment whose lead­er­ship shares a revolv­ing door with biotech firms such as Mon­santo (mak­ers of the rBGH injected into most indus­trial dairy cows to arti­fi­cially stim­u­late lac­ta­tion) and with phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal interests.

Read the rest of this story at the Cal­i­for­nia Inde­pen­dent Voter Network.

Come back here and leave a com­ment about some solu­tions to these mat­ters and what can be done about it.–Augie

Please give $5 and get Liv­ing Food PDF via email or $25 for a 25-paper pack. Either way you will pro­vide 5 familes the gift of Liv­ing Food– paper bulletin.

Getting Milked: No Real Farms, No Real Food

What we have here is the continued destruction of food freedom, food choice and food availability. The federal government does not believe that people are capable of deciding what to eat themselves and have “erected a multitude of New Offices and sent forth swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance”. Literally. That citation from the Declaration of Independence couldn’t possibly have been more true at any time in history than it is today. Remember, no farmers, no food.– Doreen Hannes

Today the raw milk freedom fighter and international icon Michael Schmidt announced he would take over the shutdown Home On The Range dairy in British Columbia. The local  court has ruled that delivery of milk to the owners of the cows is not legal; therefore they cannot milk the cows owned by others.

Tonight, Doreen Hannes presents Part 2 of her farm/food freedom series on raw milk.  Doreen covers in some detail the list of violations in Missouri and California cases.

Another case here at the Journal is entitled FDA: Raw Milk Must Be Treated as a Toxic Waste. Yes, raw milk is a controlled substance and called dangerous and deadly–even when produced by highly skilled artisans schooled in the European tradition and with modern techniques. But in America, the bad store corporate milk, with known immediate and long-term health effects, is approved and called healthy, produced in facilities of as many as up to 32,000 cows and bottled with chemical additives. It is the Milk Monopoly (Creme Cartel), along with their partners inside USDA, FDA and Departments of Health, that are forcing the small dairy families out of business and  off their land.  That is my opinion of it all.–Augie

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Milk….It’s a Menace!!!

Destroying Family Farms in the Name of Food Safety

©Doreen Hannes 2010

This is the second of three articles to demonstrate the effects that Senate Bill S510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, will have on all of us. The third article in this series will be devoted to Senate bill S 510. As you read this article, it’s important to keep in mind that while the US Congress was on August recess, Senate bill S510, that will completely control the production of food, was resubmitted as a bipartisan complete substitute for the original.

On June 30th of this year, a private food co-op named Rawesome, founded by a rather iconoclastic individual by the name of Aajonus (pronounced odd-genus) Vonderplanitz was raided in Venice, California. The co-op’s members prefer to eat all raw food and have many personal testimonies of the benefits they have received from following the paleo-diet and eating all things raw. The raid involved multiple agencies – the FBI, FDA, California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Health Department among them. The agents entered with drawn guns and seized all products from the private food club. Among the products seized was raw cheese from the licensed and inspected Morningland Dairy in Mountain View, Missouri.

Morningland Dairy is a small raw cheese company that has been in business for 30 years with no reports of illness from their products ever being levied. They milk cows on site and use that milk to make their cheese in a separate building. Denise and Joe Dixon took over operation of Morningland Dairy several years ago and expanded the operation to include goat cheese made from Missouri family-run goat dairies. The cheese is sold directly to consumers and to grocery stores across the nation. According to Joe, nine families are dependent upon Morningland for their livelihood. Continue reading